In the collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum, there’s a mirror from 16th Century China that has been keeping a secret for centuries.
And at long last, that secret is out.
The museum’s Curator of East Asian Art, Dr. Hou-mei Sung, was studying the mirror.
It has a polished bronze surface on its front side, and on the back six characters that make up the name of Amitābha Buddha.
Now if you use this mirror the way most of us use mirrors, it shows your reflection.
Given that it’s hundreds of years old, it’s still pretty impressive, but not really out of the ordinary.
What the curator discovered, though, is that when you shine light onto the polished bronze surface, this mirror reflects a figure of Amitābha Buddha.
This is known in the art world as a magic mirror, and in the 16th century they were very hard to make.
That’s probably why there’s only a few of them known to exist.
Now we can add one more.
And the Cincinnati Art Museum is putting its find on display, because when a mirror’s secret gets out after being hidden for all those centuries, it’s definitely that mirror’s time to shine.
If you see ancient statues in museums, they’re often white or off-white.
But many of them were originally painted with bright colors.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is exhibiting some of these statues with an app called Chroma, where you can use augmented reality to see the paint and designs that used to be on these ancient works of art.
APP ALLOWS USERS TO SEE ANCIENT STATUES IN ORIGINAL COLOUR (Nag on the Lake)
Photo by 5chw4r7z via Flickr/Creative Commons